Erie Chamber Blog
Wednesday April 21,  2021

Meet the Candidates is an annual education series to connect the business community to citizens seeking public office in Erie County. Candidates were invited to complete a brief questionnaire; answers appear as provided by the candidate. The views expressed below are not those of the Erie Regional Chamber. We invite you to get to know the candidates and mark your calendars to vote in Pennsylvania's Primary Election on Tuesday, May 18th. 

Meet the Candidate: Chuck Nelson
Erie City Council

Current Employer(s)
The Cross, Erie

About Chuck
Chuck is a graduate of Lindenwood University, has a Masters of Divinity from Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary, and will soon finish a Doctorate in Missional Leadership from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary (where Mr. Rogers went!) with a dissertation focusing on creating a community that transcends class and race. In addition to his work in ministry, he has also served as an adjunct professor at Mercyhurst. The church he leads also hosts "Service Trips" in downtown Erie during spring break and summers. These trips provide the Erie community with thousands of hours of blight reduction, feeding those experiencing homelessness, and projects at different non-profits. He sits on the board of the Upper Room, represents the 3rd Ward Second District on the Democratic committee, sits on the advisory committee for Our West Bayfront, leads the Gateway Neighborhood Association, works with a team to lead Porchfest, and assists in coaching Erie Reapers wrestling at the MLK Center.

Why are you running to be Erie City Council?

To bring fresh ideas to City Hall.

What are your top three priorities you wish to work on if elected?

Land Value Tax, which would result in lower taxes on residents, less blight, and more investment.

How would you be an advocate for key education initiatives such as the Erie County Community College, K-12 education, and early education as they relate to workforce development?

I will be a staunch advocate for education. I was raised in a household where my father was the principal of the largest school in the state and have almost completed my doctorate.

How will you work to advocate for the modernization of public health infrastructure and encourage public/private partnerships to address deficiencies in our public health system? 

My example of coordinating with Erie County Health Department, Rite Aid, and The Upper Room is an example of the priorities I hold in this advocacy.

According to, Erie County is estimated to have lost over 28% of small businesses. How would you work to encourage financial stability within local and state governments without overburdening the small business community?

With a Land Value Tax, it was hugely successful after being implemented 25 years ago in Allentown and Harrisburg.

Our community is expecting a total of $225 million or more in American Recovery Plan funds.  As a community leader, how would you prioritize this funding?

There has been an underinvestment in community and economic development in the city for far too long, the city needs to prioritize these things and by working in partnership with business, should focus on technology infrastructure. Places like Longmont Colorado have used public access to higher speed internet to become the fastest growing city of our size.

Pittsburgh has seen success with tools such as Tax Increment Finance and Transit Revitalization Investment District to spur their City’s revitalization.  Are you willing to make long-term investments in economic development?

Land Value Tax would do much of this. It would stop punishing the maintenance of property and instead punish a lack of development, in the simplest terms. Investment Zones such as CRIZ or NIZ can be fought for in Harrisburg and a restructuring of our millage that doesn't reward disinvestment.

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